#187: On the Difficulty of Getting Here


Friday afternoon,
trying to prepare
for a cabin retreat,
a birthday weekend
of solitude and reflection
and writing,
I stepped in a pile
of leaf camouflaged dog shit
in the driveway.
I didn’t realize I had done this
until I proceeded to go
into the house with shit
all over my shoe. I removed
the shoe, put on other shoes,
went outside to
hose off the offending poo,
went back inside to clean up
the mess I had made in the house,
then I went outside again
with the new shoes
to look for the shit.
Couldn’t find a trace of it,
but when I came back in
I realized that I had
tracked through it again.
And then later, only
because it was most
convenient, on the way
out of Walmart with
sugar and ice,
I slipped on some other god-awful shit
on the floor (was it peanut butter,
more dog shit, barf, who knows?)
but it was slippery as hell
and my feet went flying
out from underneath me
and my sugar went way up into the air
while somehow I managed
to hold on to the ice and my hat
and miraculously
not to fall on my ass
or throw out my back.
This other dude in the store and I
looked up at the sugar together
almost as if it was suspended in air
or as if time had stopped.
Finally, the sugar came
crashing to the ground.
Organic, in a plastic container
with a lid, the sugar seemed
to have survived. The dude handed
it back to me, asked, are you all right?
I don’t even know what I said.
What the hell was that—something to that effect.
What the hell was that?
I will never set foot in a Walmart again.
I feel a little lucky to have landed safely
at my cabin destination—
but I feel that these events
with the driveway shit
and the Walmart shit are
working as metaphors
for my fiftieth year
on the planet and I immediately decide:
51 will be better. I repeat myself
for good measure: 51 will be better,
and it begins with Borges and beer,
a cabin in the woods and the rain
and 48 hours all to myself.

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

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